Curried Pumpkin Blackbean Kale Tongue-Twister Stew

The name of this dish speaks for itself, in a way – it’s a long list of ingredients that I dare you to say five times fast, and when they come together they’ll twist on your tongue in a little warm, velvety festival of fall time goodness.

I, like many people, associate several things which are no less awesome for their predictability or their ubiquity (actually, I consider the ubiquity part of the awesome) with fall. These include 1) stew, and 2) pumpkin. As soon as it is nominatively fall I am more than ready to consume pumpkin EVERYTHING.*

*side note – mix pumpkin out of a can with your greek yogurt, some cinnaomn, and some honey. Thank me later.  I already thanked my mom, from whom I got the idea.

I even give the peanut butter something of a rest for the season – and that is saying something.

Today was a rare treat way down in the South here for two reasons (I am into twos tonight, apprantely.) This first was because it was a total rest rest day. As much as I love working out, the chance to do something OTHER than work out is also exciting. Especially when it includes sleeping in. The second treat of the day was the fact that when I did wake up, it was chilly enough in my apartment to wear leggings and a fuzzy sweatshirt while drinking my coffee in bed. Summer weather that lasts until Thanksgiving sounds great when you are up north being sleeted on, but down here although I appreciate it being nice out… I miss fall, and I have trouble remembering what month it is. In honor of this probably-brief and welcome chill, I experimented with a new fall stew that combines some of my very favorite flavors – coconut, curry, spices like ginger and cinnamon, cumin – and of course, pumpkin. My stew turned out extremely thick and velvety. I have a tendency to get overexcited during soup and stew making so that I put in tons of EVERY INGREDIENT EVER and end up with a delicious but super duper thick enormous pot. Next time I do this (and there WILL be a next time – probably the vegetarian version when my boyfriend is here next) I think I’ll do two cans of coconut milk instead of one, to loosen things up without thinning it too much. The pot is big enough that the coconut milk density won’t throw the macros off too far.

Here’s the recipe, for a BIG @** pot. I made just this to have for lunch and dinner all week because I don’t mind repetitive meals the way some people do. It came out to 8 large servings (post-workout size; you could probably stretch it to 10 or even 12 smaller servings). If you want less, everything is pretty easy to halve.

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Curried Pumpkin Blackbean Kale Tongue-Twister Stew

2 lbs ground beef (I used 93% lean)*
2 tbsp canola or other oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
48 oz chicken broth*
1 can pumpkin (the big 29oz one; it would be 2 of the smaller size)
1 can coconut milk (next time I will use 2)
1/2 lb (half a package) pasta
2 cans black beans, rinsed
2 bags of chopped, frozen kale (or one bunch of kale finely chopped)
1 tbsp mild curry powder
1-2 tsp powdered ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1-2 tsp cumin
1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 – 1 tsp salt
fresh ground black pepper

1) Brown your ground beef in a skillet, drain, and set aside.

2) In a large (and I mean LARGE if you use the quantities listed – I used my great-grandmother’s stockpot, which is the only soup pot I have and probably part of why I make such enormous batches of soup) pot, heat the oil and then add the diced onion. Cook on medium/medium low heat until translucent – be careful that they don’t burn.

3) When onions are translucent, add the garlic. Let the garlic get fragrant.

4) Add a little chicken broth – a cup or so is enough, you just want it to keep the pumpkin from sticking. Add the whole can of pumpkin, stir to combine.

5) Once the pumpkin is heated, add your black beans. Make sure the liquid from the can has been rinsed off.

6) Now add the rest of the chicken broth, the coconut milk, and the paste. Stir well, and turn the heat up to medium high – wherever you need to get a strong simmer going so you can cook your pasta. Give it a good ten minutes, add your beef and stir for a little while to get it mixed in and heated though….and then:

7) It’s time to go for it with the spices! I ended up chickening out on the sage and cardamom, but I used everything else pictures. The amounts listed are approximate because I fiddled to taste, and I like a lot of spice when it comes to say, the cayenne. Add everything on the low end listed, and then taste and adjust to your liking. I’d go easy on the clove so the bitterness doesn’t come through, and I was very pleased with the result of going heavy on the cinnamon and ginger – it’s a lovely spicy undertone to the heat of the cayenne and the rich hearty stew texture. Kind of a subtle counterpoint to the more obvious cumin and curry spices.

8) At this point, I covered my pot and let it hang out at a low simmer for 15 minutes or so – long enough to let the flavors meld but not too long because I was hungry for my dinner!

 

*To make this vegetarian, all I’ll need to do is switch the beef to veggie crumbles (or you could add more and other varieties of beans instead – I think this would be great with lentils) and switch the chicken to veggie broth.  If it seem slacking the rich “meaty” flavor, I learned last year that that can be fixed with a little quality belgian beer but I think since this was chicken broth it will be ok without (that stuff is pricey!)

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